Soda tax in Philadelphia passes final council hurdle
Statement of CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson
The final vote on Mayor Jim Kenney’s soda tax proposal is a huge win for the city’s children and parents, who will now benefit from expanded pre-K and parks. The mayor’s leadership and commitment made all the difference. And it’s a historic defeat for Big Soda, which set more than $4 million on fire in an attempt to kill the proposal. We congratulate the city council for standing up to the soda industry, and especially for rejecting the industry’s ethically dubious attempt to induce the council to scuttle the tax.
Soda and other sugar drinks cause diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other serious health problems, and contribute nothing of positive value to the diet. Such drinks are the perfect candidate for a tax: Besides raising revenue for valuable programs, a tax of this size can nudge consumption downward and reduce the regressive toll of soda-related disease. Philadelphia really provides a roadmap for other cities and states to adopt similar measures.